This third growth Saint-Julien property dates back to 1796, when it was founded and heavily expanded by Napoleon’s finance minister, Count Jean Valère Cabarrus. He owned it until 1825, when Count Duchatel purchased it, introducing a fine drainage system and overseeing its success in the 1855 Classification.
However, the early 20th century was not kind to the estate, with both the economic depression and the world wars taking their toll. The Cendoya family owned it from 1925 until 1983, when it was acquired by its current owners, Suntory, the Japanese wine and spirits company. The firm has invested heavily in both the vineyards and the cellars since.
The vineyards are located in the west of the Saint-Julien appellation. The 120 hectares under vine are in a single block, planted on the region’s famous Günz gravel soils, with some clay and sand in certain areas. This variation in soils – along with a range of levels of vine maturity thanks to Suntory’s replanting programme – has led to the vines being managed plot by plot, before being picked by hand and fermented separately. The majority of the estate is planted with around 65% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot and 5% petit verdot, but there are also four hectares of white grapes – a mixture of sauvignon blanc and semillon with a little muscadelle.
The wines are fermented in stainless-steel vats before being blended and matured in oak barrels. For the estate’s grand vin – selected from the oldest vines, with an average age of 35 years – this is 60% new oak, and the maturation lasts for 21 months. The second wine, Les Fiefs de Lagrange, spends a year in oak, 20% of it new, and the white wine usually ages in 80% new oak.